We all know that feeling, the sudden knot that tenses in our stomach when an extreme and negative emotion arises. These emotions often arise with good reason, the seed could be an encounter with a rude or aggressive person, some bad personal news, a surprising and disappointing reaction from a loved one or a heartbreaking headline on the news. How do we deal with these sometimes devastating emotions? Here are my thoughts on this and a simple meditation to help you cope the next time a strong emotion strikes.
Let’s begin by seeing these emotions for what they are, disturbances of the mind. We’re all seeking peace of mind by many and varied paths and these extreme emotions are obstacles to our progress. His Holiness the Dalai Lama says,
“The ultimate source of my mental happiness is my peace of mind. Nothing can destroy this except my own anger.”
So how can we return to a peaceful state of mind in the face of what might be a major life crisis? Bereavement, redundancy, accident or even abandonment?
It’s not helpful to deny what’s happening or repress our emotions. As we all know, they’ll usually come back later in more extreme and painful ways. What we can aim to do is deal with the emotions and the situation in a healthy and positive manner without evasion.
One immediate way to do this is to ‘drop the storyline’. That is, sit with the emotion, let it take it’s course but don’t feed it by replaying the ‘seed event’ over and over in your head. This way we’re not denying how we feel but we’re not amplifying it either. The space that we create allows us to respond rather than react. Connecting to this witness state is one of the many reasons to meditate.
Next time you find yourself in a situation that arouses strong emotions try the following simple Tonglen meditation to transform those emotions into love and joy:
- Sit comfortably with an upright spine.
- Settle yourself and become present to the emotion you’re experiencing, be it fear, anger, anxiety or whatever else is coming up for you.
- Let go of the storyline around the emotion. Stop thinking about the circumstances that caused your reaction and just sit with the emotion.
- Focus on your breath, making it slow and even.
- With each inhale visualize drawing the negative emotion into your heart.
- See your heart as a powerful centre of energy which transforms the negative emotion into love and joy.
- As you exhale see that love and joy flowing out with your breath and dissolving into the air.
With practice, I hope that this simple technique will assist you in finding more peace and space in your life.
Wishing you joy, love and an easeful life.
Learn more on how to create joy and love…Join me for our next session of:
Learn to Meditate – Delving Deeper: A Six Week Path to Peace
Learn to quiet your mind and find stillness, peace and calm. Allow me to help you discover your own personal meditation practice.
In this class we will investigate simple but profound meditation techniques to help you live a happier, healthier and a freer life. We will discuss the fundamentals of meditation and draw from a vast array of methods to assist you in finding, not only peace and calm, but own your personal practice.
$99 for six weeks. Go to www.balancedlifeyoga.ca to pre-register or call 905-428-2300.
Balanced Life Yoga, Ajax – Tuesday, March 1 to April 5 from 8.00 – 9.00 pm
Balanced Life Yoga, Uxbridge – Wednesday March 23 to April 27 from 7.30 – 8.30 pm.
Jacquelyn is a 500 hour RYT and Reiki Level Two practitioner. Yoga has helped her to overcome paralyzing fears and chronic pain and find her true purpose in life. Her focus is on encouraging those around her to have patience, kindness and compassion for themselves and the courage to stand, fearless, in their own light. Jacquelyn teaches Gentle Yoga, Flow Yoga, Beginners Yoga, Seniors Yoga, Learn to Meditate and a variety of workshops.